The Louisiana Lady Bulldogs softball team’s improbable dream of a season came to end on Wednesday, Oct. 16, when they dropped their sectional game 8-0 to the Highland Lady Cougars.
The game was a tight 0-0 through five innings at Firemen’s Field in Louisiana’s Wallace Park, thanks to tight defense and pitching from both squads.
However, Highland laid down a series of bunts in the sixth inning and the Lady Bulldogs unravelled. Highland scored three runs in that inning and then put it away in the seventh inning with five more.
“We struggled to string together any hits,” said Louisiana Head Coach Bill Capps. “Defensively we played well.
“Highland is a good team and finally found our weakness in covering the bunt. We’ve done a good job on bunts all year but tonight we couldn’t get to the ball in time to make the plays we needed to.
“Overall I thought the girls showed how far they’ve come in playing a tough opponent like Highland so close.”
Highland junior pitcher Avery Johnson was a buzz saw, throwing mostly strikes with a big windup and giving up only two hits. She struck out eight and only walked only one.
Louisiana freshman Molly Ross got both of the Lady Bulldogs’ hits. She had a single in the first inning but was forced out on an ensuing ground ball. Ross hit a screaming double down the left-field line in the fourth, but was stranded on three successive pop-ups.
Junior Louisiana pitcher Kaitlyn VanHooser got on with a walk in the seventh inning, but was also stranded.
VanHooser gave up five earned runs on six hits and six walks. She also struck out six and had her team in the game until Highland came up in the top of the sixth.
Two back-to-back squeeze bunts that were misplayed and a dribbler in front of the plate allowed Highland to take a 2-0 lead. A sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
In the seventh inning, Highland parlayed a double, two walks and another bunt to make it 4-0. A triple to right center cleared the bases to make it 7-0.
Louisiana junior right fielder Samantha Pedersen then made a great running catch on a drive to right center, but a Highland runner at third tagged up to make it 8-0.
Junior shortstop Morgan Murry helped keep the team in the game earlier, when she caught a ground ball in the third inning and fired home with the bases loaded for a force out.
The Lady Bulldogs started the season 0-15 and ended it with a 7-3 run to finish 7-18.
With only power hitting third baseman Caitlin Bolton and reserve first baseman Sydney Bronson graduating this year, the team should be in good position for another district title run in 2014.